Fresno students shocked by abrupt closure of Marinello Beauty School

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An abrupt closure for hundreds of students who showed up to class at Fresno's Marinello Beauty School.

The U.S. Department of Education says the school overcharged it's students, took some Title IV money meant for it's students and requested federal money for students based on invalid high school diplomas. The closure affects 4,300 students and means the loss of 800 jobs statewide.

Dozens of students arrived to Marinello Beauty School in Northwest Fresno on Thursday morning, shocked that the doors were locked. Many were upset by the facility's sudden closure. Barber student Jesse Silva says, "Then we came to school today and doors were closed, security guards here (saying) 'Grab your stuff and go'"

Many students didn't realize how much trouble the school was in. Essence Doyle, a student says, "I was supposed to graduate in a few weeks and now I can't because the school is closed and it's going to take another month and a half for me to go and get my stuff to transfer to another school."

Students are concerned not just about the time but the money invested in the $23,000 a year school. In a statement, the U.S. Department of Education wrote, "Marinello was knowingly requesting Federal aid for students based on invalid high school diplomas, underawarding Title IV aid to students, charging students for excessive overtime, and engaging in other acts of misrepresentation."

A district manager at Marinello's Fresno location declined to comment on the school's shut down. Calls to Marinello Beauty School's corporate office were not returned. Silva says, "It was always a concern for all of us that for our hours we were being over-charged but it was just-- we all thought it was okay because we'd never been to beauty college. We'd never been to another school. We always thought those penalities occurred because that's how it was."

In a letter, Marinello's CEO Rashed Elyas addressed students. "We want you to know that we did everything in our power to avoid this unfortunate conclusion and keep your school open. Unfortunately, the Department of Education's unprecedented and unfounded actions left us with no other option except to close our schools."

Silva says, "We all don't come here to do little things, we come here to be great but they sold us a wolf ticket and made me believe they cared about us and our future. In actuality they were just making money off of us."

A meeting will be held next Wednesday for Marinello's Fresno students. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education will be on hand to help students get their transcripts, loan discharge forms and other documentation they'll need to transfer to another school.

The Fresno location is one of 45 statewide that has shut down.
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